You are here

Good management of egg producing hens

The modern egg producing strains of chickens usually have fewer poor producing hens if you manage the birds properly as pullets. In commercial egg laying operations the birds are not usually culled after being placed in the laying house unless the birds become diseased or crippled. In the small laying flock the hens should be culled about eight to ten weeks after being placed in the laying house. This allows the birds plenty of time to adjust to their new surroundings and reach peak production. It also provides extra time for the development of the slower maturing pullets. Often you can detect the non-laying or poor producing birds by observing the condition of the comb and head characteristics. Body characteristics will indicate if the bird is capable of being a good layer.

Characteristics Indicating Ability to Lay

Comb and Wattles Large, bright red, glossy Small, dull, shriveled
Head Neat, refined Beefy, weak
Eye Bright, prominent Dull, sunken
Eye ring Bleached Yellow tinted
Beak Bleached Yellow
Abdomen Deep, soft, pliable Shallow, tough, tight
Pubic bones Flexible, wide apart Stiff, close together
Vent Large, moist, bleached Small, dry, puckered, yellow

Culling at night is recommended, since the birds are less likely to be frightened and reduce egg production. A flashlight with the lens covered with blue cellophane will make it easier to detect poor layers without disturbing the flock. Handle the birds as little as possible so that production will not be greatly reduced. Delay culling if a significant portion of the flock is suffering or recovering from a minor disease or molt. Culling a diseased or molting flock often removes some of the better laying birds.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


A man wearing a baseball caps squats down inside a poultry house, holding a black camera. Feeders line the floor in rows, small, yellow chicks feed nearby, and the house stretches behind him in the distance.
Filed Under: Livestock, Poultry January 11, 2019

In a state where temperatures exceed 90 degrees more than 100 days a year, heat control in poultry houses is a very important consideration for Mississippi's biggest agricultural industry.

A close-up of a commercial chicken with white feathers is shown in the right three-quarters of the foreground with other chickens blurred in the background.
Filed Under: Agricultural Economics, Poultry December 18, 2018

Poultry producers got off to a robust start in 2018, which helped the industry end the year strong.

A woman holds a brown and white chicken while a young girl looks on.
Filed Under: Poultry June 1, 2018

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- More than a million backyard chicken flocks provide Americans with eggs, meat or companionship, a trend Mississippians embrace, but hobby farmers must learn proper care to keep them healthy.

A close up of white eggs stacked in a bowl with other white eggs.
Filed Under: Poultry April 13, 2018

RAYMOND, Miss. -- With low feed prices and healthy demand for broilers and eggs, the Mississippi poultry industry is poised for another productive year.

An illustration depicts a large yellow chick with a graph showing the number of Salmonella outbreaks since 2000 and includes text instructions to wash hands after handling backyard poultry.
Filed Under: Youth Poultry, Agriculture, Livestock, Poultry March 30, 2018

Baby chickens are so cute and cuddly that few people can resist holding them. Unfortunately, as public interest in raising backyard birds has grown so has the number of Salmonella outbreaks in the U.S. (Photo by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)


Farmweek, Entire Show, August 28, 2015

Season 39 Show #08

Thursday, August 27, 2015 - 7:00pm


Contact Your County Office

Your Extension Experts

Portrait of Dr. John Emerson Linhoss
Assistant Professor
Portrait of Dr. George Thomas Tabler
Extension Professor
Portrait of Dr. Jessica Benoit Wells
Asst Clinical/Ext Professor